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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 6, p. 2090-2102
    Received: Dec 4, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): kukieru@ba.ars.usda.gov
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The Effect of pH on Metal Accumulation in Two Alyssum Species

  1. Urszula Kukier *a,
  2. Carinne A. Petersb,
  3. Rufus L. Chaneya,
  4. J. Scott Angleb and
  5. Richard J. Rosebergc
  1. a USDA-ARS, Animal Manure and By-Product Laboratory, BARC-W, Building 007, Beltsville, MD 20705
    b Department of Natural Resource Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    c Oregon State University, Southern Oregon Experimental Station, Central Point, OR 97502


Nickel phytoextraction using hyperaccumulator plants offers a potential for profit while decontaminating soils. Although soil pH is considered a key factor in metal uptake by crops, little is known about soil pH effects on metal uptake by hyperaccumulator plants. Two Ni and Co hyperaccumulators, Alyssum murale and A. corsicum, were grown in Quarry muck (Terric Haplohemist) and Welland (Typic Epiaquoll) soils contaminated by a Ni refinery in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, and in the serpentine Brockman soil (Typic Xerochrepts) from Oregon, USA. Soils were acidified and limed to cover pH from strongly acidic to mildly alkaline. Alyssum grown in both industrially contaminated soils exhibited increased Ni concentration in shoots as soil pH increased despite a decrease in water-soluble soil Ni, opposite to that seen with agricultural crop plants. A small decrease in Alyssum shoot Ni concentration as soil pH increased was observed in the serpentine soil. The highest fraction of total soil Ni was phytoextracted from Quarry muck (6.3%), followed by Welland (4.7%), and Brockman (0.84%). Maximum Ni phytoextraction was achieved at pH 7.3, 7.7, and 6.4 in the Quarry, Welland, and Brockman soils, respectively. Cobalt concentrations in shoots increased with soil pH increase in the Quarry muck, but decreased in the Welland soil. Plants extracted 1.71, 0.83, and 0.05% of the total soil Co from Welland, Quarry, and Brockman, respectively. The differences in uptake pattern of Ni and Co by Alyssum from different soils and pH were probably related to the differences in organic matter and iron contents of the soils.

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